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The investment potential of Scotland’s electric vehicle revolution

The Scottish government plans to phase out new petrol and diesel cars and vans across the country by 2032 will see the number of charging points expanded, as well as pilot projects set up to encourage the uptake of electric vehicles throughout Scotland.

Scotland’s First Minster, Nicola Sturgeon announced yesterday that her plans include an innovation fund to encourage climate-change solutions such as charging vehicles in areas with a high concentration of tenements, as well as making the A9 Scotland’s first fully electric-enabled road.

The opportunities to invest in electric vehicles are opening up as a result, and include traditional auto and component manufacturers and companies. The limitations that many tend to associate with electric cars – range, refuelling/recharging and affordability – are slowly but surely being resolved as a result of huge investment by the auto industry.

Estimates suggest that, at the end of 2016, there were more than two million electric cars on the world’s roads. The popularity of hybrid and electric cars continues to grow, with figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders showing that sales were up by 23% last year. For example, the much-talked about TESLA Model 3, has received around 455,000 pre-orders and is marketed as an ‘entry-level’ electric vehicle, with a starting-price tag of around US$35,000.

Tesla, like other electric vehicle manufacturers, is investing heavily in battery research and development. It is constructing a battery ‘gigafactory’ which, at an estimated cost of $5 billion, will double the world’s lithium i-on battery capacity when complete, and will ensure the advancement of battery technology. Daimler has announced significant investments in battery production, while VW is planning to build a pilot plant for the development of battery cells and modules.

With battery technology improving by leaps and bounds, car manufacturers will be competing fiercely to make a serious impact on the market with their models. VW has plans to build 2 to 3 million all-electric cars a year, and to unveil 30 new models by 2025, when it is also aiming to be the world leader in clean energy vehicles; Daimler, owner of Mercedes-Benz, recently announced a new $11 billion investment that will enable 25% of its output to be electric; BMW, General Motors and Nissan, amongst others, are all investing in EV production; and the Chinese, too, are increasingly competitive in this space, both in car manufacture and battery technology.

The future looks bright for electric vehicles. For the time being, however, they still represent a relatively small percentage of overall vehicles sales, and this should be borne in mind when it comes to investing in this sector. With new entrants continuing to join this exciting new market, it is essential to identify those who will drive innovation, stay the distance and do so profitably. It is also worth widening your scope to consider businesses associated with the manufacture of both hardware components and software for the electric vehicle sector.

Equally, if becoming the owner of an electric vehicle appeals to you, why not find out for yourself what all the fuss is about? Anybody can test drive an electric vehicle, and Tesla have set up shop in a number of shopping centres. So, go and have a look, and give the technology a try next time you hit the stores.

Investors should remember that the value of investments, and the income from them, can go down as well as up. Investors may not recover what they invest. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

Any mention of a specific security should not be interpreted as a solicitation to buy or sell a specific security.

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